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Cablegate: Nicaragua: 2008 Expropriation Report

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMU #0753 1641539
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 121539Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAGUA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2736
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS MANAGUA 000753

STATE FOR WHA/CEN, EB/IFD/OIA, AND L/CID
STATE ALSO FOR WHA/EPSC
STATE PASS TO USTR
TREASURY FOR INL AND OWH

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EINV ECON USTR KIDE OPIC CASC NU
SUBJECT: NICARAGUA: 2008 EXPROPRIATION REPORT

REF: STATE 43784

1. (U) This cable provides proposed language for the
Nicaragua chapter of the 2008 Report on Investment Disputes and
Expropriation Claims. Embassy will e-mail a comprehensive annex
with details of confiscated property claims by June 15 per reftel
request.

2. (U) Property claims resolutions in Nicaragua continue to consume
the time and energy of former owners and government officials.
Since 1990, thousands of Nicaraguans and other nationals registered
more than 28,000 claims with the Nicaraguan government for homes,
farms, bank accounts, and other assets expropriated during the
1979-1990 Sandinista era. Although most were Nicaraguans at the
time of expropriation, some were, or subsequently became, U.S.
citizens.

3. (U) Between January 1995 and June 1, 2008, a total of 1,137 U.S.
citizens registered 3,193 property claims with the Embassy. Of
these, 2,535 have been resolved, primarily through compensation in
the form of long-term, low-interest, government issued bonds. The
estimated face value of these bonds is US$324,730,382. In isolated
cases, claims have been resolved through the return of property,
cash compensation or, in one instance, a land swap. Most claimants
(i.e., 870 of the 1,137) who have registered their claims with the
Embassy were not U.S. citizens at the time of expropriation.
Another 2,020 U.S. citizen claims not registered at Embassy Managua
have been resolved by government authorities without Embassy
assistance.

4. (U) As of June 1, 2008, 305 U.S. citizens await the resolution of
647 Embassy-registered active claims. Sixty-three claimants,
accounting for 113 of these outstanding claims, were U.S. citizens
at the time of confiscation. Embassy Managua employs one American
officer, one Nicaraguan attorney, and one Columbian-trained attorney
who is an Eligible Family Member to assist U.S. citizen claimants.


5. (SBU) Between August 1, 2007, and June 1, 2008, the government
resolved 21 U.S. citizen claims registered with the Embassy. Four
U.S. citizen claimants withdrew a total of 11 claims registered with
the Embassy between August 1, 2007, and June 1, 2008, because they
did not have sufficient evidence to support their cases.

6. (SBU) During the course of the last 12 months, the Nicaraguan
government's lack of full cooperation with the Embassy has stifled
progress on U.S. claims. Between August 1, 2007, and June 1, 2008,
the Nicaraguan government dismissed more than 130 U.S. claims in a
nontransparent manner and without due process. The Ortega
administration has limited communication between Embassy and
Nicaraguan working-level officials to once-monthly meetings. All
other communication is conducted through official correspondence
between the Ambassador and the Attorney General. Until May 2008,
the Nicaraguan government refused to allow Embassy officials to
attend meetings between U.S. citizen claimants and the Attorney
General, a practice that was common in the past.

7. (U) The Embassy will continue to press for swift and suitable
resolution of outstanding U.S. citizen property claims in accordance
with Section 584 (c) (i) of H.R. 4818, the Consolidated
Appropriations Act, 2005. Section 584 specifically precludes adding
claims registered after August 1, 2005, for inclusion in waiver
determinations based on Section 527 of the Foreign Relations
Authorization Act of FY 1994/1995. The Embassy also assists U.S.
citizens seeking restitution for claims not registered under the
aforementioned act.

TRIVELLI

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